NOVEL: PASSIONATE CRIME
Ride to Hell
The time between eight and ten on Monday mornings is when the Cafe Coffee Day outlet tucked in the corner right inside the sprawling Central Secretariat Metro station receives the maximum footfalls. But then the irony is that barring a few patrons including the ubiquitous couples who canoodle inside and warm themselves
with a shared cup of creamed latte and quick stolen glances and even the odd touch here and there, the majority who step past its glass doors are those who leave, sooner rather later, and that too always in a hurry, without bothering to disturb their respective wallets.
‘Not now, may be later’, is probably the message they leave behind to the understandable administrators of the popular outlet that runs its business with pride
and a promise that ‘ a lot of things can happen over coffee’.
But for the harried office crowd who rush in and out of any one of the ‘blink and you miss’ trains that screech in and out of the cavernous arch of the station every waking hour and minute of the day and night, the rich hot brew that awaits them needs to wait, at least for sometime, as they know very well that were they to somehow miss their workplace arrival deadlines ‘a lot of things would happen, and all may not necessarily be over coffee.
She was standing a mere inches from the yellow line that served as the final frontier before which the entry gates would open out. It had taken her fifteen minutes to move from fifteen position to fourth in the line where she was standing now.
She looked behind and then realised she needn’t have bothered at all. The line had only gone longer and longer and now, unknown to her extended to almost the full length of a football field.
The waiting was beginning to take its toll. Despite being covered in three thick layers of winter clothing, beads of perspiration began the slow slide down her face.
She needed to do something about it. A few choice curses slipped out of her mouth. The old man standing ahead of her turned around.
Her lips formed ‘Fuck you, Uncle’.
Job over, the woman turned to the task at hand. A flick of the shoulder brought the imitation Austin Klein off white sling bag to her wrists.
In a flash her hands dipped inside and found what it was seeking.
Another flick and she thanked Lakme for making life a wee bit easy for women like her, perennially on the go. She checked herself in the nano attached mirror, first wiped off all the droplets, then with the help of the powder puff dabbed a fresh layer of matte finish. She needn’t bother to check herself in the mirror. Experience was on her side.
All of fifteen seconds later, she was ready; ready to take the plunge into the gaping mouth of the Metro.
As if on cue the train arrived. And so followed a flurry of activity. Madness reigned supreme. Even before the electronic doors opened, the exit door was choc a bloc with hardly space to wade in or wade out.
‘Maintain discipline. Be in line’, shouted out a uniformed security man whose job it was to manage the crowd.
He needn’t have bothered exercising his lungs, and might as well have gone home. Or maybe, just taken a long two hour break till the madness ebbed.
For there was no line. It was a free for all and Darwin’s thesis of survival of the fittest was at full display.
In less than thirty seconds the train had excused itself and was now hurtling towards its next destination.
The girl was one of the lucky few who managed to get in without much bodily damage, if she were to ignore the slight heaviness in her chest.
There she stood or more appropriately was pushed into a corner; just about managing to maintain her stance amidst the jerks and jolts of an unstable coach.
A commotion had erupted at other end of the coach and all too soon raised voices
rent the stifling confines of the ‘packed to the gills’ compartment.
She craned her neck to look around but could barely see past male shoulders. Men, both young and old, had made a neat square protective wall around. There was something eerie about that wall, it wall too neat and well formed.
And then almost without warning, the overhead audio system boomed out,
‘The next station is Paschim Vihar. Passengers are requested to stay away from the doors. Please fall in line”.
She looked ahead but could see nothing. Not even the exit door.
She did a quick mental calculation. The doors would open for less than 30 seconds. Standing where she was she and as she was s if there was any way she could make it to the exit, she would have to overcome all human resistance around her. Unfortunately, around five or six armed fists guarded her and stood between her roved the area between and the door. She shifted, shoved, pushed and jabbed her way way out of the ‘wall’ but the protective wall kept rebuilding and reforming around her.
The clock was ticking away. She had to do something and something fast even as roving hands worked around her. She found her deliverance in one such hand as it waded and entwined around her lower back, and then lodged itself into her left hip.
The door had opened. The pushing and shoving had begun.
In less than a couple of seconds the door would close.
It was now or never, and she made her over.
Using every single ounce of energy, she bended her hand, entwined it over the unknown palm and in one swift movement held it in a vice like grip, and hurling the best and the worst of Delhi special abuses, hacked her way out of the train. In her hands she still held a swarthy, male hand that she had so deftly managed to extricate from her lower left bottom.
‘Bastard, come I will teach you a few touches’. The rain of blows commenced even before her mouth had run dry.
They came, the thuds, fast and furious: some connected with the left vertebrae, some with the right, and quite a few found their mark right at the epicentre of all the trouble__ the hapless, struggling young man’s crotch.
In no time a crowd had gathered and among them a man, in uniform, stepped out.
‘ Madam, leave him. I will handle it’.
‘No, I will personally take him to the police station. He needs to be taught a lesson for molesting a woman’,.
And so saying the woman strode out with her prey, literally dragging him by his short collars, and even before the commotion had died down and the recorded voice from the world class Metro announcement system boomed out the arrival of the next train, the two were out of the station premises.
“Madam, kahan jana hai’?
‘Uttam Nagar’, she replied.
Soon enough the three wheeled contraption snaked out of the metro premises.
It carried two passengers, and one of them was beginning to smile, slowly, inwardly.